Coffee! (With Pretty Pictures By Rachel)

My latest obsession has been coffee. More specifically, espresso. My coffee setup includes a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine outfitted with an Auber PID with steam control, and a Baratza Vario grinder. I’ve gotten some fantastic coffee out of it, and I thought I would share a few pictures of the process. Rachel gets all the credit for the pictures! 🙂

Of course, this effort would be a waste if I didn’t start with good beans. Espresso is an intense brewing method that uses pressure to drive a fast extraction that can bring the best (and worst) out of a coffee bean – and there is little room for error. Recently I’ve been using espresso blends from Paradise Roasters – a well-regarded and local coffee roaster – and enjoying the results.

Here, I’m making a latte. I pull the shots first and then froth the milk because I would like to work towards making latte art, and there’s no hope of getting the right consistency in the milk if it has to sit for a few minutes while I pull the shot.

First, I usually let Silvia warm up for about an hour. Although the boiler gets up to temp in just a few minutes, all of the brass around the grouphead takes much longer to warm up.
The PID controller keeps the boiler within 1 degree of my setpoint of 215F
I dry off the portafilter with a towel
I preaheat the shot glasses for the espresso, and the cup for the latte
I grind using a cut-off yogurt cup to direct the grounds into the portafilter
I shake the grounds to break up any clumps
Then I remove the yogurt cup
I distribute and level the grounds with a card
I remove any excess from the edges
I tamp
I remove the tamp with a polishing twist
I twist the portafilter onto the machine, empty the glasses, press the brew button and start the timer
The shot starts slowly
And it quickly builds momentum
The crema dissipates with a cool layering pattern
Leaving two delicious, slightly short shots!
Rachel likes our little spoons
Then I froth the milk
Tasty microfoam achieved!
And it pours!
Not exactly latte art, but super tasty!
A yummy weekend tradition 🙂

One thought on “Coffee! (With Pretty Pictures By Rachel)

  1. Lindsay Ring

    Rachie, I adore your pics! very artistic!

    And Nato, how did I NOT know you had a blog!!!!! I will now be commenting frequently!!


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